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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Musing on World Affairs

Thoughts Whilst Shaving
Norman A Rubin

While lathering my lower face for the ritual of the morning shave I got to thinking on the situation in the world today, especially on my country Israel. As the brush lathered my cheeks I remembered a poem by Rudyard Kipling 'When wounded you lie on Afghanistan’s plains

And the women come out to carve up the remains, Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains And go to your death like a soldier.' Kipling told of the inability of taming the Afghani fellah – The Anglo Indians with their army failed at Khyber Pass. Later in the modern era, the Russian tried and failed; now it is the turn of the Americans with their NATO Allies to feel the sting. While Osama fiddles Afghanistan burns, Gen. McChristal pleads for more troops to put out the fire.

As I lather the other cheek I thought of the busy schedule of our illustrious president in promoting a flawed and expensive health reform bill. While Joe Biden was and still extolling the Stimulus package by proclaiming that the program created a million jobs, but why has the employment rate gone up to 9.7% - and Alan Greenspan, late head of the Federal Reserve in the background painting a gloomy picture where the rate will exceed 10%. Off course there are jobs going begging – nurses, engineers, medical orderlies, border guards etc.

As I picked up my safety razor and began to remove the stubble I thought that we were safe from an atomic attack by Iran. But a secret report indicates that the competent experts at the world's top atomic watchdog are all in agreement that Tehran has the ability to make a nuclear bomb and is on the way to developing a missile system able to carry an atomic warhead. President Ahmadinejad did it again when fooled the concerned nation when he agreed to inspections by IAEA hiding his real intentions.

As I rinsed the blade I thought of a quotation (author unknown) that would help me, and probably you, to overcome all adversaries – both man and nature – "Life is easier that you think. All you have to do is accept the impossible, do without the indispensable and bear the intolerable. And be able to smile at anything."

Then I thought that Israel has another hurdle to cross before there can be peace with the Palestinians. It happen one sunny day that the Islamic Movement leader Raed Salah stated in the afternoon that he and his supporters "would pay any price to defend Al-Aqsa [Mosque]"

Well, as the story goes, that prior to the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, the head of the Muslim Wakf learned through a rumor that a small fringe group of Jews, fanatics of the Third temple Movement, want to establish a Third Temple on the site of the Dome of the Rock and reinstate animal sacrifices. Off course the hot heads of the Muslim Wakf was bothered and small riots erupted daily in Jerusalem, which the police put down. No one knows why the Palestinians decided to stir things up just now – perhaps by Mahmoud Abbas to distract his people from the Palestinian Authority's unpopular decision not to further exploit the Goldstone Report. Whatever the reason, protecting the holiness of the Temple Mount with its Muslim shrines is the only way to bring o together all the factions of the Palestinians - Fatah in Ramallah, Hamas in Gaza City, and the Islamic Movement's in the Galilee.

Sadly, not one Palestinian leader spoke out against Raed Salah (Perhaps they do not want to remark that the Jewish Temple was on the site, which had been denied for centuries by the faithful.) So once again the Extremists on both sides are trying to incite violence to prevent peace between the Israeli and the Palestinians.

1) The 'Temple Mount and Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) Faithful Movement is a small Orthodox Jewish religious fanatical fringe movement that wishes to establish a Third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and re-institute the practice of ritual sacrifice.. The movement's aim is supported by only a small minority of the Israeli public – the police maintain control over them and prevent them to enter the Temple Mount.

2) The Islamic Movement is a movement that aims to advocate Islam among the Arabs living in Israel. It operates on three levels: religious (Islamic education, religious service), social (welfare services) and nationalistic (opposition to the State of Israel and support for Palestinian nationalism).

3) It must be noted that the Israel authorities have permitted Muslims to retain administrative control over their holy places. Israeli authorities have forbidden Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. And according to a Jewish religious law, a Jew is forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount.

Peace in Our Time October 14th 2009

As I squeezed the shaving cream tube and pressed the lather into my bush I commenced my task of the daily ritual of shaving. As I started to lather my face I got to thinking that the world hasn't changed very much – in Peshwar in Pakistan a suicide explosion occurred and killed about fifty people and wounded a score more, and In Jerusalem riots still are erupting. And in the Land of the Free and Brave the senate is debating the pros and cons of the medical reform bill; each time talking of increase taxation and rates that will fall on the backs of the Middle Class. Quote: "Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even when there is no water." (unknown). Well the Norwegian Nobel Committee picked the US president for the Noble Peace prize not for his work to bring peace to this world but got the prize for not being George Bush and for his brilliant elocution. Simple! I thought they would pick that little dictator in Teheran for his work in the peaceful uses of the atomic bomb.

In Israel we too have a Nobel Prize Winner -Israeli scientist and a charming woman, Ada Yonath, a leading researcher in the structural biology field, was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry by, the Nobel committee in Stockholm. (Yonath shares the prize with England's Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A. Steitz, an American, for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome). Now I ask you why couldn't the Norwegian committee do the same and share the Peace Prize with more deserving candidates.

As I rinsed the razor I thought of a new pack to carry on our weary backs. We have the Goldstone War in Jerusalem where rioters battle police on a daily basis. It will be the war that was brought upon us by the Goldstone flawed report on 'Operation Cast Lead' by the Israelis into Gaza, For better or worse, Operation Cast Lead created a balance - it weakened Hamas and deterred it, brought a bit of peace to the communities of Southern Israel, and it strengthened the moderate Palestinians (Fatah) and enabled them to grow. His report, similar to that infamous propaganda document 'The Protocols of the Elders', was probably written for his Goldstoner followers, the Palestinians and the men and women in white sneakers. The report reflects both the Goldstoners' holy fury and their complete belief that the Palestinians can do no wrong.

As I wiped my face I thought of that little dictator Ahmadinejad who is not even recognized by many of his own countrymen and women as a legitimate ruler, and that the Iranian regime's legitimacy is questionable within Iran itself. Because he is a fanatical ignoramus his Holocaust denial is not a cynical ploy. He believes what he says - and he is unlikely to have invested much time in the historical evidence for the Holocaust. Now, there is fear that the atomic bomb will be in his possession, but nobody is doing anything seriously to prevent this from happening.

While the US president basks in the glory of the peace prize, the world around him goes to pieces – there are suicide bombs in Pakistan – the war carries on in Afganistan to back up a corrupt regime – and in the home front his stimulus package did not bring relief to the unemployed and his medical reform bill will add a financial burden to the citizens of his country. He still believes in that foolish notion that housing construction in the West Bank by the Israelis should stop and that it will bring peace between the Israelis and Palestinian; and weary George Mitchell, special envoy to the Middle East, skips between Jerusalem and Ramallah to find a way for some sort of peace deal between the two adversaries, not understanding the root cause of the problem – who is the rightful inheritor of the ancient Land of Israel?

Dabbing a bit of lotion on my handsome face I thought of Cain and Abel, two brothers that fought over a bowl of porridge. I now know why the warring nations, whatever the reason, can't live to together with their neighbors – all for a bowl of porridge.

© Norman Rubin Oct 14th 2009

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